CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — “Of course, I'm tired, but there are times when I can't get out of bed, couldn't move. I'm just too weak. It's a huge difference from just a regular pregnancy and that's what's making this time around harder.”
Sarah Gutierrez is 20 weeks into her second pregnancy, so she's familiar with the normal symptoms and physical changes that happen to moms to be.
”With my daughter, the nausea would come if I ate something and baby just didn't agree with it," said Gutierrez.
Two weeks ago, Gutierrez says she started feeling something very different.
“This time I noticed I would just get nausea, I'd get actual pains in my stomach, especially my uterus, not like contractions but almost like when you have stomach virus, or food poisoning then the nausea would come, and then of course vomiting would follow.”
Along with the unpleasant feelings when throwing up, Gutierrez also felt a sense of panic.
”The difference I noticed, this type of vomiting was when I was in the process of it, I couldn't catch my breath, I was gasping for air with all the congestion build-up as well,” said Gutierrez.
Once she tested positive for COVID-19, Gutierrez isolated herself in her room. A situation that has been difficult for her two-year-old daughter Samara to deal with.
“It makes it that much harder, being isolated from your child, she doesn't understand,” said Gutierrez. “Not being able to be with my family, my husband, takes a toll mentally as well. COVID is not just about sickness. People don't talk about the mental emotional side of it.”
Gutierrez has been in touch with her OB-GYN daily by telephone and she is able to take over-the-counter medications to treat her symptoms, but all her regular prenatal testing, scans and bloodwork have been put on hold. Gutierrez recently had to cancel her baby's anatomy scan because it's just too risky right now.
”It was unfortunate. So I could make sure everything was okay with my baby’s heart, lungs. So it's stressful with that as well,” said Gutierrez.
Dr. Michael Pirics with the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Houston Methodist Hospital says that, thankfully, COVID-19 does not appear to be presenting any major complications for his pregnant patients.
“The coughing, the fevers, the loss of smell and taste—they’re pretty much the same among patients who are pregnant and those who are not pregnant,” said Pirics.
While there still must be more research done to see if the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines are safe for expectant mothers, Dr. Pirics says vaccinating everyone who comes in contact with the pregnant woman will provide a layer of protection and women considering conceiving at this time should consult with their doctors to assess all risks.
Gutierrez has advice for women who might be considering getting pregnant at this time:
“Of course there's always something going on in the world that prevents someone from wanting to have a baby, but right now there is a pandemic and it could be more stressful and scary for moms.”